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How pervasive is combustible and electronic tobacco and marijuana use in popular hip-hop music videos from 2013 to 2017?
In this content analysis of 796 hip-hop music videos from 2013 to 2017, the appearance of combustible or electronic product use or exhaled smoke or vapor ranged from 40.2% to 50.7%. The appearance of branded combustible and electronic products increased over time.
The frequent use of combustible and electronic tobacco and marijuana products in popular hip-hop music videos, the genre’s broad appeal, and the use of branded products by prominent artists may contribute to a growing public health concern.
Hip-hop is the leading music genre in the United States and its fan base includes a large proportion of adolescents and young adults of all racial and ethnic groups, particularly minorities. The appearance of combustible and electronic tobacco and marijuana products, especially brand placement and use by popular and influential artists, may increase the risk of tobacco and marijuana use and decrease perceptions of harm.
To assess the prevalence of the appearance and use of combustible and electronic tobacco and marijuana products, including brand placement, in leading hip-hop songs.
Design, Setting, and Participants
Analysis of top 50 songs from 2013 to 2017 of Billboard magazine’s weekly Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs with videos that included the appearance or use of combustible tobacco and marijuana products (manufactured cigarettes, cigars, hookah or waterpipe, pipe, hand-rolled tobacco and marijuana products, marijuana buds); appearance of exhaled smoke or vapor without an identifiable source product; appearance or use of electronic tobacco and marijuana products (eg, electronic cigarettes); tobacco or marijuana brand placement; appearance or use of combustible and electronic tobacco and marijuana by main or featured artist. Data were collected from December 6, 2017, to June 4, 2018.
Main Outcomes and Measures
Prevalence of (1) appearance or use of combustible tobacco and marijuana products, (2) appearance of smoke or vapor, (3) appearance or use of electronic tobacco and marijuana products, (4) tobacco or marijuana brand placement, and (5) appearance or use of combustible and electronic tobacco and marijuana by main or featured artist. Probability of appearance or use of combustible and electronic tobacco and marijuana products by quartile of viewership of videos.
The proportion of leading hip-hop videos containing combustible use, electronic use, or smoke or vapor ranged from 40.2% (76 of 189) in 2015, to 50.7% (102 of 201) in 2016. For each year, the leading category of combustible use was hand-rolled products. The appearance of branded products increased from 0% in 2013 (0 of 82) to 9.9% in 2017 (10 of 101) for combustible products, and from 25.0% in 2013 (3 of 12) to 87.5% in 2017 (14 of 16) for electronic products. The prevalence of combustible or electronic product use or exhaled smoke or vapor increased by quartile of total number of views: 41.9% (8700 to 19 million views) among songs in the first quartile of viewership and 49.7% among songs in the fourth quartile of viewership (112 million to 4 billion views).
Conclusions and Relevance
Combustible and electronic tobacco and marijuana use frequently occurred in popular hip-hop music videos. The genre’s broad appeal, use of branded products by influential artists, and rise of electronic product and marijuana use may contribute to a growing public health concern of tobacco and marijuana use.
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Corresponding Author: Kristin E. Knutzen, MPH, The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, One Medical Center Dr, Lebanon, NH 03756 (email@example.com).
Published Online: October 15, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.4488
Author Contributions: Dr Soneji and Ms Knutzen had full access to all of the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.
Concept and design: All authors.
Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: All authors.
Drafting of the manuscript: Knutzen, Soneji.
Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: All authors.
Statistical analysis: Knutzen, Soneji.
Administrative, technical, or material support: Soneji.
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.
Funding/Support: Dr Moran’s effort is supported by NIDA and FDA Center for Tobacco Products grant 5K01DA037903.
Role of the Funder/Sponsor: The funding source had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.
Disclaimer: The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH or the FDA.
Additional Contributions: We thank Sreevaishali Rajendran and Niki Cozzolino for their assistance in coding data. They received compensation.
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